How to Make Shabby Chic Altered Art Frames

by Nichola Battilana

Create cute altered art with inexpensive thrift store frames and Graphic 45 staples.


  • Thrifted fames
  • Come Away with Me
  • Acrylic paint
  • Shabby Chic Ornate Metal Keys
  • Shabby Chic Ornate Metal Key Holes
  • Shabby Chic Ornate Metal Brads
  • 7/8 Inch Fancy Fan Ivory Lace
  • 3/8 Inch Looped Ivory Lace
  • Adhesives
  • Alpha Stamps Tintypes Collage Sheet
  • Instructions

    Step 1

    Gather your frames and remove the glass and backings. Clean them well and sand them lightly if you like.

    Step 2

    Coat the frames in a layer of white acrylic paint. It will likely wipe off of any raised areas (that's ok!) but be sure to get it into any crevices.

    Step 3

    If you'd like to add some variation, splosh a bit of turquoise paint on there too...

    Step 4

    ... then, with a rag, soften the paint and wipe to give a distressed look.

    Step 5

    Cut background paper to build your tiny collages on. Here I've used Graphic 45's "Travel Odyssey" and "Globetrotter" from their Come Away with Me collection.

    Step 6

    Using Tintypes Collage Sheet from I cut out images that I feel will fit nicely within the frames.

    Step 7

    Start layering small cut elements from Graphic 45's 'Come Away with Me'. I've used pieces from the pages Look Out World, Come Away With Me, and Vintage Voyage.

    Step 8

    I find it easiest to pre-cut a bundle of elements and then experiment with layering and layouts. Remember that a portion will be hidden by the frames edge. Above all, have fun playing!

    Step 9

    You might want to consider adding hand drawn scribbles and accents.

    Step 10

    Place your little works of art back into the frames. You can finish here or...

    Step 11

    ... add a bit of lace trim, a shabby chic key and brad...

    Step 12

    ... buttons, wire and ribbon...

    Step 13

    ... or leave them as is :)

    Step 14

    That's it! Give as small tokens of affection, attach a pin on the back to wear as a brooch, or affix a magnet for holding important documents on your terribly fancy fridge :) Enjoy!